Police say they are frustrated at having to repeatedly warn teens and parents about sexual predators after the identity of a man who faces a raft of charges for sexually exploiting children has been revealed.
Guess who is at fault for police having to issue repeated warnings?
Is it the sexual predators, who seek out children and teenagers to abuse?
Is it the police, who are unable to get sexual predators to stop?
Is it the teenagers and children that sexual predators target?
Yes! Of course it is! It’s the victims’ fault.
After Laurence’s appearance, the leader of [the Wellington-based Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand Unit], Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, said police were frustrated at having to repeatedly warn teenagers and parents about sexual predators who trawled the internet looking for their next victim.
“The warning is valid but people continue to ignore it. What does it take to get the message through? [Some teenagers] think they’re 10-foot tall and bulletproof until something bad happens.”
As well as indulging in victim blaming, Sergeant Michael has forgotten some of the basic facts of life. Teenagers grow up. They cease being teenagers. But they are replaced by an entirely new set of teenagers who will not have heard Sergeant Michael’s warnings. He will need to issue those warnings again and again and again, because each year, there are new teenagers.
I’d be really worried if Sergeant Michael’s approach was applied in other areas of policing. Imagine teaching road safety. “Right then, that’s these five year olds taught how to use pedestrian crossings. Good. We won’t need to do that again. From now on, all five year olds will know how to cross the road.”
It’s part of the job, repeating the same message over and over and over again. And if the police really want sexual predation to stop, they need to address the whole huge issue of rape and consent in our culture. But as ever, it’s much easier to just blame the victims.